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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Installations & Structures
  4. Canada
  5. Ekistics Planning & Design
  6. 2016
  7. Storyboard on the Landscape / Ekistics Planning & Design

Storyboard on the Landscape / Ekistics Planning & Design

  • 13:00 - 24 February, 2017
Storyboard on the Landscape / Ekistics Planning & Design
Storyboard on the Landscape / Ekistics Planning & Design, Viewing platform. Floating over the landscape—overlooking the East Village and the river—the structure is comprised of two weathering steel bodies connected by a stage. Image © Peter Lawrence
Viewing platform. Floating over the landscape—overlooking the East Village and the river—the structure is comprised of two weathering steel bodies connected by a stage. Image © Peter Lawrence

Wooden panels. The wooden liner provides an armature for interpretation: a structure to provide support, and a trope to represent the long linear seigneurial land plots. Image © John deWolf Métis flag. The Métis flag is an infinity symbol on blue, representing the unity of two cultures, and faith that the Métis culture shall live on forever. Image © Peter Lawrence; Image © John deWolf [inset] Viewing platform. The platform represents a singular cultural heritage of dual origins. The Métis are descendants of those born of indigenous and European (typically French) peoples.Image © Peter Lawrence Cutline. A cut-line framed by the viewing lens stresses the connection with the river and river-lots, and emphasizes the notion of land as a primary character. Image © Peter Lawrence + 24

  • Architects

  • Location

    Batoche, SK S0K, Canada
  • Project Lead

    John deWolf
  • Lead Architects

    Chris Crawford (architecture), Devin Segal (landscape architecture)
  • Area

    1695.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Design/Build Team

    John deWolf—principal in charge (EGD), project manager, lead design; Adam Fine—interpretive planner; Sahisna Chitrakar—interpretion designer; Natalia Ultrémari—graphic designer; Edward Vella—graphic designer.
  • Partner Team

    Chris Crawford—principal in charge (architecture); Julien Boudreau—project designer; Thomas Evans—intern architect; Matt Kijewski—intern; Rob LeBlanc—principal in charge (landscape architecture); Devin Segal—lead landscape architect; Justin Neufeld—intern landscape architect; Derek Hart—civil engineer technician.
  • Design/Build Team

    Genevieve McIntyre—project manager (build); Jean Lanteigne, engineering technologist.
  • Other participants

    Ekistics Planning & Design (architecture/landscape architecture); Skyline Atlantic Canada (fabrication/installation coordination); SweetCroft Engineering Consultants Ltd. (structural engineering).
  • Fabrication

    Skyline Atlantic Canada (interpretive panels and wooden liners); Elance Steel Fabrication Co Ltd. (steel structures fabrication); Mennie Design & Build Ltd. (landscape and interpretive panel installation).
  • More Specs Less Specs
Cutline. A cut-line framed by the viewing lens stresses the connection with the river and river-lots, and emphasizes the notion of land as a primary character. Image © Peter Lawrence
Cutline. A cut-line framed by the viewing lens stresses the connection with the river and river-lots, and emphasizes the notion of land as a primary character. Image © Peter Lawrence

 As sesquicentennial celebrations unfold, it is important not to overlook Canada’s pre-Confederation and first nations heritage. This experiential design undertaking is aimed at strengthening ties between the Canadian Government and the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan.  

Parti Diagram.Our parti focuses on two approaches to land division: one accounts for access to the river; the other devised with lack of regard for inhabitants. Image © Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan S-B6500 [left]; Form:Media [right]
Parti Diagram.Our parti focuses on two approaches to land division: one accounts for access to the river; the other devised with lack of regard for inhabitants. Image © Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan S-B6500 [left]; Form:Media [right]

At the heart of this history is a land dispute—the source of inspiration for our core concept. Two opposing methods of landholding: a thoughtful linear and river-oriented allotment by a semi-nomadic turned agrarian people versus an unnatural grid-based system imposed on one nation by another. Herein lies a testimony of a land that follows from non-issue to conflict, through an entente to a formal collaboration between a First Nation and a government. 

Viewing platform. The platform represents a singular cultural heritage of dual origins. The Métis are descendants of those born of indigenous and European (typically French) peoples.Image © Peter Lawrence
Viewing platform. The platform represents a singular cultural heritage of dual origins. The Métis are descendants of those born of indigenous and European (typically French) peoples.Image © Peter Lawrence

A National Historic Site of Canada since 1923, this 955 hectare property is an impressive landscape in a setting of aspen forest and remnant fescue prairie. The focus for our project is Lot 47, the location of the once thriving village of Batoche. Our design seeks to tell the story of this place, considered the heart of the Métis nation. The Métis are descendants of those born of indigenous and European peoples.  

Site plan. The narrative is organized as a linear experience: context (viewing lens); conflict (cutline); climax (observation platform), and the current day (family garden). Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design; Image © Peter Lawrence
Site plan. The narrative is organized as a linear experience: context (viewing lens); conflict (cutline); climax (observation platform), and the current day (family garden). Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design; Image © Peter Lawrence

Rather than imposing numerous and frequent insertions, we unite this expansive cultural landscape through the delicate placement of four conspicuous elements. Minimal intervention and a light footprint were key goals. For example, a simple mowed/burned strip that reinforces the linearity and direction of the river lot. Structures are raised up on piles to reduce impact on this archaeologically sensitive site. Robust materials—weathering and galvanized steel, cedar, and stone—minimize maintenance and evoke themes of permanence. Efficiency pervades the details–best demonstrated by innovative batten joinery developed to significantly reduce the size and quantity of fasteners. 

Viewing lens. The viewing lens introduces visitors to the central message—a land dispute—through a design that incorporates form, material, didactic content, and the landscape. Image © Peter Lawrence
Viewing lens. The viewing lens introduces visitors to the central message—a land dispute—through a design that incorporates form, material, didactic content, and the landscape. Image © Peter Lawrence
Viewing lens elevations. Image © Peter Lawrence; Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design
Viewing lens elevations. Image © Peter Lawrence; Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design
Wooden panel system. Slats are connected by timber battens on 45°angles—front and reverse. The battens act as structural elements limiting the size and quantity of mechanical fasteners. Image © Peter Lawrence
Wooden panel system. Slats are connected by timber battens on 45°angles—front and reverse. The battens act as structural elements limiting the size and quantity of mechanical fasteners. Image © Peter Lawrence

The distinct seigneurial river lot land division plays a role throughout, from the spacing of Saskatoon berry rows in to the organization of the overall site. The wooden panel system—a structure to provide support, a trope to represent the river lots—is also rooted in another reference to Métis culture: the weave of the ceinture fléchée sash. The interpretation supports a sense of pride by honouring both the pre- and post-battle story. Together with modern building forms and materials, the conviction of a thriving Métis culture is reinforced. 

Stage. The view planes are purposeful: ahead (stage West) is obscured by the second steel chamber; to the north are the remains of Batoche’s East Village. Image © Peter Lawrence [left]; Image © John deWolf [right]
Stage. The view planes are purposeful: ahead (stage West) is obscured by the second steel chamber; to the north are the remains of Batoche’s East Village. Image © Peter Lawrence [left]; Image © John deWolf [right]
View planes. Far from overt, the three ‘stages’ of the platform respect the Metis’ relationship with the land by providing views to the land (North and East), water (South and West), and sky. Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design
View planes. Far from overt, the three ‘stages’ of the platform respect the Metis’ relationship with the land by providing views to the land (North and East), water (South and West), and sky. Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design

As a team of multiple professions, the synthesis of method, process, and workflow of our colleagues enriches our designers. For example, our architects and landscape architects think not only of the natural/built environment, but consider interpretation and graphic details as part of their interdisciplinary design process. This is an account of disciplines collaborating to use the landscape not merely as a setting, but rather as a lead character.  

Timeline. The chamber celebrates a thriving culture. A 5.3m timeline starts at the floor, and projects skyward to suggest “forevermore” and an infinite future. Image © Peter Lawrence [left]; Image © John deWolf [inset and right]
Timeline. The chamber celebrates a thriving culture. A 5.3m timeline starts at the floor, and projects skyward to suggest “forevermore” and an infinite future. Image © Peter Lawrence [left]; Image © John deWolf [inset and right]
Foundations. All that remains of the village are foundations and cellars. The rail allows the visitor to engage in imagining these buildings in the landscape. Image © John deWolf
Foundations. All that remains of the village are foundations and cellars. The rail allows the visitor to engage in imagining these buildings in the landscape. Image © John deWolf

Parks Canada’s goal is for an architecturally interesting, one-of-a-kind, and interactive design that incorporates historically significant themes and activities of Batoche. Parks wished to use this project as a bridge to allow a landscape scarred by resistance to tell a story of a thriving culture, to create a destination, and to reestablish ties. Through design, we hope to honour the Métis story and to improve cultural relations.

Family Garden. The family garden is organized within a swath of Saskatoon Berry hedgerows, set in 2m increments forming a scale representation of the Métis river lots.   Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design
Family Garden. The family garden is organized within a swath of Saskatoon Berry hedgerows, set in 2m increments forming a scale representation of the Métis river lots. Rendering: Ekistics Planning & Design
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Storyboard on the Landscape / Ekistics Planning & Design" 24 Feb 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/806012/storyboard-on-the-landscape-ekistics-planning-and-design/> ISSN 0719-8884